The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction

The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction

The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction

The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction


Defines the psychology of human-computer interaction, showing how to span the gap between science & application. Studies the behavior of users in interacting with computer systems.


Designing interactive computer systems to be efficient and easy to use is important so that people in our society may realize the potential benefits of computer-based tools. Our purpose in this book is to help lay a scientific foundation for an applied psychology concerned with the human users of interactive computer systems. Although modern cognitive psychology contains a wealth of knowledge of human behavior, it is not a simple matter to bring this knowledge to bear on the practical problems of design--to build an applied psychology that includes theory, data, and methodology.

This book is our attempt to span the gap between science and application. We have tackled a small piece of the general problem. With respect to computer science, we have focused on the task domain of text- editing and similar types of highly interactive systems. With respect to psychology, we have focused on the notion of the expert user's cognitive skill in interacting with the system, especially the temporal aspects of the interaction. We have constructed an empirically-based cognitive theory of skilled human-computer interaction in this domain. This theory is our keystone for linking science and application. On one side, we have shown that the theory is a consistent extension of the science of human information-processing. On the other side, we have simplified the theory into practical engineering models, which are the tools for designers to apply the theory. Thus, in addition to putting forth specific psychological models in this book, we have tried to make clear the general framework of an applied psychology, in which these models are but prototypical examples.


Interest in the topic of human-computer interaction is shared by people from a range of disciplines. We believe this book makes contact with the specific interests of all of these disciplines. For instance:

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